Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Special ASYV Activity: Tikun Olam

Embedded in the youth village's ideology is the idea of Tikun Olam: giving back to the community. At ASYV, every Tuesday students in the second year participate in three different community service projects that aim to help people in the nearby community. Our group had the opportunity to go with the students into the village and "give back to the community."

The three projects included building houses for the local villagers, teaching English in a nearby primary school, and volunteering in the town health clinic. Our group was able to choose which project they wanted to participate in.

I along with five other students went to the primary school with the ASYV students to interact with the kids and teach English. From the outside the school looked old and uncared for, but when you entered through the gate you saw a sea of green filled with tons of children who were laughing and playing. Our group split up into pairs and each pair sat in a classroom where ASYV students first instructed the students of certain English greetings and other English sayings. I know I can speak for everyone in saying how impressed we were with the passion and intensity of the ASYV students in teaching the young students. To see the ASYV students impart their knowledge and skills to these young kids shows the great future that Rwanda holds. Who could have thought that 18 years after a genocide that destroyed all facets of Rwanda, youth would be teaching youth.

Visiting the school is just one of the experiences that will last with me long after our trip. I learned that the education system in a place like Rwanda, specifically in a rural section, is really not that different than school in the states. What's different is the resources and services that are available to the school and students. As we left the school, groups of students from the school began to follow us and hold hands with members of our group. It was a beautiful sight to a wonderful day.

--Brandon Bell

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